A friendly desert town where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while everyone pretends to sleep…Welcome to Night Vale…
Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fiero is given a piece of paper marked “KING CITY” by a man in a tan leather jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about this is slightly unsettling until Jackie realizes she can’t get rid of the paper in her hand and no one who meets the strange man remembers anything about him afterwards. Finding her own mind beginning to unravel, Jackie is determined to find the truth behind the strange man and the equally strange message.
Night Vale PTA Treasurer Diane Crayton is a single mother with a teenage son named Josh. This would not be odd save for that Josh is a shape shifter and lately everywhere she goes Diane keeps seeing her estranged husband but he hasn’t seemed to age a day. With her son showing a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, Diane feels helpless to stop the incoming disaster should the two eventually meet.
Jackie’s search for her routine life and Diane’s search to reconnect with her son collide as both women find themselves coming back time and again to two words – “KING CITY”. They realize King City holds the vital clues to their pasts and their futures. Now they just have to find a way to leave Night Vale and get there…
Welcome to Night Vale is one of those strange fandoms where you either love it or wonder what the hell is going on. A bi-weekly podcast, I think the best way to describe it is: If Silent Hill had public radio, it would be Welcome to Night Vale.
The novel itself fits somewhere during Night Vale’s second season which is currently being broadcast. It introduces us to new characters but also brings back familiar faces such as Old Woman Josie and the Erikas. With the majority of the action surrounding lesser known characters with only occasional appearances by more well known individuals, one doesn’t need to be a rabid fan to enjoy the book.
For me, one of the things that stand out about Welcome to Night Vale is the fact that both main protagonists are women. It is a rare treat to see this, especially with both characters being strong and independent. They each walk their own path and rely on their own selves, something we unfortunately do not see that often portrayed in media.
Fans of the WTNV podcast will definitely enjoy this book. It gives the reader a better glimpse into life in Night Vale and explorers lesser known characters. Having at least a passing acquaintance with the podcast and such definitely helps though because otherwise the casual reader will find this book just plain weird. Which is what brings so many of us back time and again.